I stared at Genevieve, so small, so vulnerable, so incredibly human. I could reach across and crush her and just like that she would be gone. The fragility of life had never been more obvious to me. I crossed my arms over my chest as a single flare of fear spasmed through me. Gen had no memories; except the ones I’d managed to give her through some of my blood, and now I was forced with an impossible situation. Yet again I wished that I could sense what she was thinking-- and not for the first time. I hated that our connection had been broken when she had lost her memories, and yet a fragment remained, barely allowing me to sense her emotions; emotions she was now trying to hide from me-- did she feel like her emotions or thoughts weren’t important to me? A surge of my own emotions filtered through me; anger, frustration, fear, anxiety-- I was a cocktail of feelings that had been bottled for so long, threatening to explode. I thought of how deceitful Claire had been-- of course she had known that my Father was coming to visit their manor; of course she had known he would find us here-- and after all the time we’d managed to stay off the radar? This was not chance. He had planned it. Now? Now, I had to choose whether to turn my broken wife into the monster I and all who were like me were which may make her forget me entirely or I’d leave her and face my Father once and for all and in the process I would be sternly reprimanded and Father would kill Gen- so either way I was holding a sharp stick, there was no winning here— correction, there was only one upside to this equation, Gen would finally be free of the mark that scum Topher had put on her and I would be free to hunt his ass into oblivion, if I made it unscathed through my Father’s punishments. Rage seethed in my chest as I continued to picture torturing Topher, until I looked back at Genevieve and remembered I would be losing the love of my life.
“Damn those Nephilim to hell.” I hissed. Why was life so complicated? Couldn’t I catch a freaking break? Gen and I couldn’t have come this far under the radar to be derailed now, had we? And if I did turn Gen, what would happen to the ‘mark’? Technically she wouldn’t be ‘dying’ and dying was the only thing I knew of to set a ‘scarlet woman’ free… “If only we had more time.”
I wished Gen would say something, anything which would help me decide what to do, but instead she just started at me, with unblinking unafraid eyes - God, I wished I was that confident. Confidence would really be a great thing to have when making a life altering decision. But which was the lesser of two evils? Turn her, and possibly lose her fragile memories, which was almost worse than the second option in which I let my dear Papa come here and kill her and punish me… I was tired of fighting with Gen, with Marissa, with Sebastian, and even with my Father. Gen was only the newest addition to a host of other problems that I’d been avoiding for years — and these last ten minutes felt like the longest of those fights that I knew I was losing, but wouldn’t give up on.
“I can’t lose you!” I tried one more time to make Gen understand as I forcefully blinked away tears. I would not cry. Men, as my Father had told me throughout my childhood, did not cry, it was a weakness, a cancer… whatever that was. It was probably the most human thing my Father had ever come to saying, and I’d always gathered he’d picked up the phrase from his human business partners. I felt a single tear slip past my blinking eyes, and damn it all, I didn’t even care. I needed Gen to see what would happen if I lost her, and if I needed to cry to prove it, then damn it all, I would.
“And you won’t!”
I sighed, and closed my eyes, cursing the lump forming in my throat. I couldn’t look at her anymore, she was looking at me as if I was a god, if only she knew how many people, how many humans I’d killed before I’d fallen in love with her.
“I don’t deserve someone like you.” Images flashed before my eyes of all the men and women I’d killed. No, I didn’t deserve to be happy, to be with someone as kind and loving as Genevieve had been to me. I didn’t deserve anyone… My Father had raised me to be the same breed of monster he was, and with purpose. I could hear in his head, “my little prince, someday you will take my place as head of this house, someday… in a few hundred years -- as I did from my Father before me.” I grit my teeth, and heard Gen’s sound stride coming towards me across the floor, she had a very distinctive walk - I moaned. If only I had never met her, if only she had run away from me -- then I would have never fallen. To love, I had often been told growing up, was the greatest weakness of all-- so cliche. Thanks for nothing Father. Yet again, I wondered if my Father had ever known what love was.
“Of course you do!” Gen whispered as her hands went around me in a light embrace and her heart pounded like a trapped bird, hitting my chest -- begging to be released, and I could; I could release her -- but would it kill her?
I moaned. “My little bird…” I had called her that from the beginning -- when I had first seen her in the parking lot of Acroft High and she had begun to walk towards me -- the hunter. I hadn’t meant to really, to draw her in but I had been so curious by how she seemed unafraid. I’d followed her closely after that, somehow comforted that she was friends with my sister -- my sister who hated me; who would kill me if harm fell on Gen.
“I haven’t fed on you in over a month… before you would only have had to take some of my blood and you would turn.” I breathed in her scent -- rose and vanilla… was this the last time I would ever breathe it in? “This will take longer, and be more painful.” My heart ached, I would feel more pain than she would, if this didn’t go well, if I lost her now after just finding her. “I don’t even know how much more so, but it will be.” I wanted to scream, and again felt an uncontrollable rage, longing to destroy things, to tear apart this room and drink a few humans until their mangled bodies broke under my arms. I shivered, and just like that -- there was the monster, buried so close to the surface. What would Gen say if she saw that side of me? The side I’d been taming for so long, the side I’d been raised to be; threatening even my relationship with my wife… “I feel so selfish for even asking this of you.” This was probably the most selfish thing I had ever done, after all she hadn’t been born to this life, I had. She could have lived a normal human life if it hadn’t been for me, or Topher or anyone from my world crossing her path… she would have married some boring dull man and -- who was I kidding, she was Fae, she never really would have had a chance to live a normal life. And then there was that stupid prince Charles… she probably would have gladly married him if it hadn’t been for Topher or I and then she wouldn’t even be in our reality, but in another dimension safe and sound, and not about to die. All this was my fault. My fault, and-
“I don’t care.”
My teeth gritted together even as my heart lurched within me. I didn’t care either. That damn blue haired idiot, Sebastian was right… Genevieve was my own brand of personal drug -- and I wouldn’t be cut off… I couldn’t -- not now.
Silence stretched between us fluttering, alive, vibrating around us, threatening to implode as we both tried to keep the bottled lids on the emotions we’d been holding in for so long. I could see the connection between us in the silence, like titanium strings tying our hearts together.
“If you are selfish then I am more so.” Genevieve’s small voice broke through the veil of vibrations. “I want you. Nothing else understand -- just you. Damned be everyone and anything else.”
Genevieve shivered in my arms but her temperature was spiraling upward, I could feel the heat swirling off her skin, as her eyes closed and sweat poured, and she began to mumble something I couldn’t quite catch so quietly that it was likely she wasn’t even speaking words at all. The whole situation was wrong... the timing, and what was happening to Gen, it couldn’t be a coincidence. It was as if the house itself was making Gen sick. Was it my Father? Had he reached her somehow -- or was it her Fae blood trying to drag her back against the viel, or worse -- was it Topher somehow killing her slowly now that he realized I’d never give her up and he’d never have her?
“My little bird?” Hunger I hadn’t felt in a long time swept through me, hot lava boiling in my veins, burning my throat and under my own frenzy and need to be satiated something else, someone else… but who? Gen’s heart shaped face fell backwards and if her eyes had been open she would have seen into the dark hunger that swept through my soul. She was so pale against her dark sweat curled hair, so pale it was as if she was already in the grave. I brought her face to mine and stared at each curvature, and watched with a fascination not unlike stalking as her nostrils flared with each slow breath. It was then that I felt my rose and thorn birthmark tattoo twitch on my arm -- it hadn’t moved this way since I was a child, since the day I told Marissa that I hated her and broken our telepathic twin connection. I froze. What was this, and not even what was this, but how was this happening? Telepathic connections between a sibling, twin, or spouse were only possible when they were in a certain proximity, oh like say, the same continent… and I knew for a fact that Marissa was not in Britain, but safely back in Vancouver with her stupid husband.
“Marissa?” It had been so long that I almost forgot how to send her a message. No response. I must have been imagining it, my birthmark was no longer twitching, just moving as I moved as it normally did.
Genevieve drew my attention again, and as I looked down at her feverish frame I reminded myself that she was still alive here in this moment and I loved her. I kissed her gently as one might a porcelain doll, like one of the ones that Marissa used to drag around with her. Her skin tasted like the sweet dessert wine my Father used bottle at Steinheart Manor, she was the boiling crucible and I was Mount Everest. I forgot about anything and everything else letting my eyes see only red -- the color of my hunger and passion. I continued to kiss her, biting my own lip and letting my poisonous blood spill into her mouth. I guess I’d made a decision, risk it all and turn her, damn everything else. I let my kisses linger, even though the slow pace made each kiss painful for me, my hunger reaching it’s apex, as I kissed each part of her cheek, jaw and neck.
“Whatever happens. I love you. I’d follow you into hell itself if I had to -- to get you back.” I hope Topher heard that, if he was the presence I’d noticed. Genevieve was mine, nobody else’s, but mine. “Remember that my little bird and not what is about to happen.” I growled, then bit down -- and became lost in the euphoria that accompanied feeding. I was soaring high, powerful, unstoppable.
Again my rose and thorn birthmark quivered, but I was too far into feeding to pay it much notice. There had been a time, many years ago that my birthmark had moved in time with my twin’s heartbeat, reminding me that I was not alone, and that I had someone I loved in my life. It had long since stopped when I had broken the connection with Marissa, perhaps now that we were speaking it would once again pick up my sister and her heartbeat. It was then I heard her weak and yet lithe voice in my head; “I forgive you brother. I’m so so sorry.”
What was happening? How could I hear her? She was so far away, and yet I felt confusion, her confusion, sorrow; her sorrow and an intense hunger. Marissa’s hunger added to my own, and instinctively my grip on Gen tightened. I could see her in my head, Marissa as a young girl, her hair so black and her eyes flashing, her green dress flaring out behind her as she sped through the forest behind our childhood home. So many years wasted, so many words spoken out of hatred -- and yet now I saw things from a completely different perspective. Where had it all gone wrong? One word, Father. And as I pulled Gen closer I finally allowed myself to weep. I wept for Genevieve, I wept for my sister, I wept for myself and lastly I wept in rage, letting myself dream of things I could do to every person who had put me on the road to this painful place, things I would do if things went poorly. I’d continued to drain Gen, pulling her closer, tighter in my arms -- forgetting that she was the fragile little porcelain doll, my mind focused on revenge when I heard her bones snapping under my python like grip and I realized how weightless her body felt.
I cursed. “FRICK.” What had I done? I dropped her, letting her fall backwards onto the bed. I stared in horror at her broken lifeless and now twisted body. Had I killed her instead of turned her? I’d never done this before, panic filled me.
“Marissa?” I sent again across our telepathic link -- but was only met with silence. I needed her now -- why wouldn’t she answer? Marissa would know what to do, she would know exactly the right words to say that would calm me... she’d always known, she’d always-
“Be strong brother.”
I hissed. Strong? It wasn’t my strength I was worried about -- after all Gen lying there on the bed so broken showed how strong I really was. I was a killer. What was going on with Marissa anyways? I could just pick up the phone and call her, it would be way easier than trying to speak telepathically across such a huge distance and also after so long not using the connection. “Damn it Marissa, you really do have the worst timing.” I reached into my pocket to grab my phone, but as I did Genevieve’s broken corpse sat up and screamed, “he’s here,” before falling back onto the bed lifeless and limp. I shivered, who was here? My Father? Wait - my Father was here?
“Run.” Whispered a voice in my head -- Marissa’s voice or my own?
I had chosen this path, and I had to see it through -- Genevieve had to be kept away from Father, at all costs, and there was only one person who could help me right now, Claire- and if she refused? I’d kill the lier myself.
“Claire!” I screeched as I fled the room not even allowing myself the luxury of one last look at my soon to be undead wife.